Addition of Cultural Explanations - Yes or No?
Thread poster: Paul Dixon

Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 14:18
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Jul 30, 2010

Is it advisable to add explanatory information to a translation, to make the text more understandable to people outside the source culture? And, if so, how much?

For example (PT>EN):

... o aeroporto de Natal...

Should I put:
The airport at Natal... or
The airport at Natal, in the state of Rio Grande do Norte... or
The airport at Natal, in the state of Rio Grande do Norte, in the Northeast of the country
(the fact that it is Brazil is evident from the context)

Another example:

no Galeão

Should I put:
at Galeão [as the airport is known locally] or
at Tom Jobim International [the official name of the airport - the name Galeão is unknown outside Brazil] or
at Tom Jobim International, in Rio de Janeiro

Another example:

na BR-459

Should I put

on the BR-459 or
on the BR-459 road or
on the BR-459 (Lorena, SP - Poços de Caldas, MG) road in Southeastern Brazil


Any suggestions about this kind of issue would be most welcome.


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Andreas Morgenstern  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:18
English to German
+ ...
I'll be your tourist Jul 30, 2010

Natal: "The airport at Natal, in the state of Rio Grande do Norte, in the Northeast of the country"
I actually needed this explanation to find it on the map.

Airport: "at Tom Jobim International, in Rio de Janeiro"
I would choose this one, if it is not obvious from the context that it is in Rio de Janeiro. (I didn't know)

BR-459: Neither Lorena nor Poços de Caldas are on any of my maps. Couldn't find them.


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Mohammad Renaldi Diponegoro  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:18
Member (2010)
English to Indonesian
should ask first Jul 30, 2010

Paul Dixon wrote:

Is it advisable to add explanatory information to a translation, to make the text more understandable to people outside the source culture? And, if so, how much?


I think you should consult the matter with your client or PM first. He/she will consider whether the information is crucial enough to be added to the translation.

[Diedit pada 2010-07-30 04:21 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:18
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Generally, don't Jul 30, 2010

You should probably ask your customer, but our main goal is to be true to the source text, so adding too much information is a bad idea. I sometimes add the name of the country of the place mentioned is really unknown.

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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 18:18
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Translator is expert Jul 30, 2010

If the text fits into the layout, I would put the explanation. As a translator you are the expert for the target culture, no-one else. If there are maps along with the text, no explanation is needed.

Regards
Heinrich


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Nabilah Khalil
Malaysia
English to Malay
Context Jul 30, 2010

I think it depends on the context of your target text. As a reader outside the source culture environment I love to know more about other culture.

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Veronica Lupascu  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:18
Dutch to Romanian
+ ...
Target audience Jul 30, 2010

If your client will present the translated text to his [potential] clients, he may consider your explanatory information necessary. You must of course inform him about it and make sure you will charge per target word or per character

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Rebekka Groß  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:18
English to German
target audience Jul 30, 2010

As with any translation you need to know your target audience. There is no point patronising the audience with added information they are already aware off.

I personally would check and discuss this matter with my client and use my best judgement.


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:18
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Sometimes, a client will actually want a "cultural" explanation. Jul 30, 2010

As others have already said, it depends on the context, the target audience and what the client would like.
I have one client who actually asks me to provide (brief) explanations sometimes - e.g. Please explain what the RER in Paris is.
So, it's probably best to discuss it with the client.
Best wishes,
Jenny


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:18
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
It really depends on the audience Jul 30, 2010

... so consulting the client should help.

I'm often confronted with acronyms that would change in the target language but are necessary in locating references, so if the client says so, I fall back on parentheses...


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